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Manning 'very excited' to be a Bronco

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By PFW staff

The Broncos introduced QB Peyton Manning to the Denver and national media on Tuesday, with the former Colt saying he signed with the team because he feels it is on a path to winning a Super Bowl.

Manning, who was released by Indianapolis on March 7, agreed to a five-year, $96 million deal with the defending AFC West champions. He called executive VP of football operations John Elway on Monday morning to inform him of the news, which led to a high-five and a loud scream from head coach John Fox.

"I'm very excited to start the next phase of my career with the Denver Broncos," Manning said. "I've always had a great deal of respect for John Elway."

The Broncos watched Manning work out at Duke University on Friday and then gave the quarterback time over the weekend to make up his mind where he wanted to play. Manning then informed the 49ers and Titans on Monday that he would not be signing with them, before letting Elway know he was going to Denver.

"I felt very comfortable with John Elway and John Fox. The organization is committed to winning, and the Broncos have incredible fans that love this team," Manning said. "I look forward to going to work."

A major question still surrounds Manning's health, after he missed all of the 2011 season while rehabbing from a series of neck injuries. Manning said that he was open and up front with all three finalists concerning his health and that he allowed the Broncos' doctors and trainers to evaluate him before signing. Those reports came back with the medical staff being "very encouraged" that Manning will be back to 100 percent for the season, with Manning even saying he could play a game this coming Sunday if he had to.

Elway was asked if the Broncos had a Plan B in case Manning was not healthy this fall. "We don't have a Plan B," Elway said. "We're going with Plan A!"

A backup quarterback will be added to the Broncos' roster, as the team will likely not retain its 2011 starter, Tim Tebow, who guided it into the playoffs. Elway said that he and Fox spoke to Tebow on Monday evening, indicating the team would like to move him. Both Elway and Manning told the media they are big fans of the third-year pro, with Manning saying he would be a supportive teammate to Tebow if he were to remain on the team.

Elway agreed, saying, "The toughest part about this whole thing is Tim Tebow, because of what I think of him."

Manning held up an orange Broncos jersey, with his name and the No. 18 on it, at the conclusion of his press conference. The number had been retired for Frank Tripucka, the first quarterback in franchise history, but Tripucka gave Manning his blessing to wear it.

"I had the privilege of speaking with Peyton Manning this morning, and I let him know that I would be honored if he wore No. 18 for the Denver Broncos," Tripucka said in a statement. "I have admired Peyton for a long time. He is one of the all-time greats, and having him wear the same jersey that I did brings me a lot of joy. I can't wait to see him in No. 18." 

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